22 hours on a plane, you can stick Xmas up your a*

Trip Start Jun 01, 2002
Trip End Sep 11, 2007

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Flag of Australia  ,
Wednesday, January 7, 2004

You should be reading this journal entry and it should be after December
25th 2003, by this stage I should be in my home town Melbourne, Australia.

See for about 2-3 months I had this plan to do the whole surprise the family
and friends thing back home. Ahhh you are all thinking, isn't he a nice son - well the truth be told there are some other reasons one would make this trip:-

1. London is cold, grey and miserable at the moment. Australia at this
time of the year is warm, sunny, warm and sunny and I can play golf.

2. It was an opportunity to go home and see some real sport! And to get
away from the English bragging just because they won ONE sporting event!!

3. The opportunity to drive a car and more importantly drive a car to a
beach and not to a city park!

4. Oh and maybe to catch up with friends and family!

But knowing my luck, I am somewhere between London and Melbourne, being held hostage by some crazy people on the plane, or perhaps London has experienced a freak snowstorm and I am now eating Xmas Turkey with 800 strangers on a Boeing 747 and there is a little old granny with mistletoe chasing me around the cabin! Let's hope not.... well that would not be such a bad way to start the new year I guess!!!

So why the entry, well first of all was to say to all those in Oz, I will make an effort to catch up with all once I am there and settled and secondly, to share yet another mis adventure trying to organise this trip!

When I decided months ago to go home, it would have been a smart move to book a ticket in advance - but good old Jay was lazy once again and approx 40 days out of Xmas day he finally bought his ticket. The cost - well, lets say some little child in the backstreets of India, could live nicely for the next 20 years, have his sports car polished twice a day and still have enough cash left over to leave a tip for his butler.

Anyway that WAS a sore point, but that is the past and the therapy is doing well!

Being the greedy "frequent flyer" point person I am, I thought I would buy my Qantas flight on my Qantas Visa card - no problems there. Until the next day I realised that my statements are still addressed to my parents place and my parents open everything addressed to me; especially if it is marked "Private and Confidential".

On the phone in a flash and speak to the nice young lady at the Visa
Company to explain my situation:-

Me: "Hi, well yes I paid my flight with my visa card and I need to change
the postal address for the statement for a month or so - is that cool?"

Her: "No problems, Mr Cormack what address?"

I then to proceed to give her a friends address in Hampton, Melbourne. No problems I think to myself. This could not have been any easier. I even checked when the next statement was due to be printed - next month!

8 Days and 7 hours later, I recieve a text from my parents...

"Your visa card has fraud trans on it. Your card has been cancelled and
what is this Qantas flight, is that yours" - something to this extent!

It became apparent that some little internet hacker got hold of my visa
details and started on a spending spree. Luckily the Visa company picked up on it and therefore I was protected and did not have to cough up and funds. But it mentioned the Qantas flights... shit!

For about 11 seconds, I really thought about telling the Visa company, that
the Qantas transaction was also, fraudulent. But then I remembered all the
movies I had seen about jails and I was not really in the mood of making a
new friend called "Buba"!

So my surprise Xmas coming home trip, had been blown and discovered, anyone would realise that the QANTAS flight would be a ticket home, so here I am thinking about raising
my white flag, dropping my weapons, placing my hands behind my head and
walking towards the interrogation office to spill the beans. Yet, after a
few emails and text messages to and forth, to the lady known as my mother.

The road is clear again. It become appearnt that she has no idea (a deer with no eyes)..

I dug deep into my creative side of the brains and I tell my parents that
the flight is for a trip to Los Angles that a "few" of us are going across
for Xmas and New Years (hence the hefty price tag). Since I was on a roll with my creative "White Lying", I thought about telling them that I had fallen in love with a
female Elvis Impersonator and we are getting married in Vegas. But that
could be going a bit far! We are still only dating at the moment,

Now at this stage, two things are happening. Either my parents are being
really nice and "going with the flow" trying to not ruin my surprise visit
or they have no idea. Turns out they have no idea.

Phew - glad that was over. Destroy the old Visa Card and New card on the
way over to London.!

6 Days and 12 hrs later
With no Visa card received in London, my parents are onto the Visa company
to find out what has happened!

It gets worse!

Once my poor mother gets through the 9 levels of security, she finds out
that the Visa card has been sent to some address in HAMPTON, MELBOURNE. The customer
service lady has no idea what lies ahead, if she knew what was coming, it
would have been less painful for her to amputate her legs with a spoon, on a hot day!!

I can imagine my "you are not going to get away with that kinda of lax in
security" mum saying this such as:-

-"Not only has the Visa Card Company got a Fraud Problem, but they are now
adding addresses into peoples accounts willy nilly." Of course she has no
idea that a couple of weeks ago I changed the address, all legit and above

- "I want to speak with customer services manager, no, the head of Fraud
and Security, no, The CEO - hell get me the FBI now!"

Note: To the customer services lady, I would like to apologies and if you
let me know your address I owe you a big bunch of flowers!!!

So now my family, know that I have bought some Qantas Flights and that the
address of my visa statements has mysterically changed from their home
address - again you would think my cover is blown. Time to take that leap
off that imaginary building and tell them the truth.

So 2 weeks out before I leave, I speak to my parents and the conversation
on the phone is normal,

"are you well", "have you got a girlfriend", "is it cold", "your father is
well, I am ok", "the lady down the street says hello" etc etc and then the
there is the replay of the story about getting the Visa Card company to
change the address etc - then there is the question

"So you must, be excited about Vegas???"

Ok she is calling my bluff, so I tread lightly around the conversation and
after a couple minutes of detailed "bullshit" conversation I think to
myself "they have no idea!". Australia here I come

.....well that was I thought.....

Here I am, on a QANTAS Boeing 747 with my Turkey and Cranberry Sandwich, a new
girlfriend "Grandma Mistletoe" who is telling me all about her son Buba,
who gets out of prison next week! ;-)

Only joking, I got here all ok and the suprise, worked a treat! Free board and food, this is some of the best traveling I have done so far!

Take care and catch you all in Oz for a BBQ or 3.

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